Equality and Empresses

Happy Wednesday! I have quite a bit to cover in this post…bear with me.

Since it is the first Women in History Crush Wednesday of the school year, today’s post is dedicated to the two teachers that got me to this point – Mrs. Bruder and Coach Patterson. I had Mrs. Bruder for AP Lang last year, and I owe any writing ability I have to her and her lessons. Without her, I don’t think I’d even enjoy writing enough to have a blog. Coach Patterson was my AP World History teacher sophomore year, and she is now my AP European History teacher. I’ve always been interested in history, but Coach’s passionate lectures about the stories of the past have inspired me to base my future goals on a history education. If you awesome ladies are reading this, thank you so much for all you’ve taught me and how you’ve helped me grow. You rock!

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Theodora

Next, it’s Women’s Equality Day! Today marks the 95th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women in America the right to vote. If you want to learn more about the women’s suffrage movement that began in Seneca Falls, head over to the National Women’s History Museum online exhibit for a complete history. Also, there’s a neat “7 Women of Color Who Fought for Gender Equality” article for today by the American Association of University Women celebrating some of the women who’ve helped get us to this point.

Finally to Women in History Crush Wednesday. For the past two days in my European History class, we’ve been refreshing on early medieval history in order to better grasp the course’s curriculum, which covers from the Renaissance of the 14th century to the global economic crash of 2008. Our discussion about Byzantine emperor Justinian led me to today’s WCW, Empress Theodora, remembered as early western civilization’s most influential woman.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Theodora

Theodora is believed to have been born at some point between the years 497 and 510 (the only record of her life is from the works of Procopius, who wrote about her after her death, and therefore dates are not entirely accurate). Early in her childhood, Theodora’s mother encouraged her to become an actress, then a prostitute and mistress, a career from which she bore one daughter (who soon died) and later retired to become a wool-spinner. In the early 520’s, Theodora and Justinian fell in love, and after Justinian’s uncle, Emperor Justin, changed the law which forbid actresses to marry aristocracy, the couple married in 525.

When Justinian claimed the throne in 527, Theodora became his most valuable adviser. Theodora assisted him in decision making for numerous cases, most notably that of the Blues and the Greens, in which Theodora convinced Justinian to stay and protect his rule in Constantinople against the threat of a rival political faction, despite his other advisers telling him to flee the city. Theodora’s sheer intellect and influence over political policies has brought many historians to speculate that she actually ruled Byzantium – she is accredited in almost all laws passed while she was empress, led correspondence of the empire’s foreign affairs, and little legislation was passed by Justinian following her death. However, it is more widely believed that the two acted as a team, complementing each other and helping in the other’s weaker areas.

As one of the first rulers to recognize women’s rights, Theodora had a hand in the creation of laws that granted women property rights after divorce, gave mothers custody rights of their children, forbid the killing of adulterous wives, and prohibited sex trafficking by closing brothels and replacing them with convents. Additionally, by 533, Theodora ended the persecution of Monophysite Christians within the empire, and provided several excommunicated observers of the sect with safe locations.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Theodora

Theodora served as empress for twenty one years, then died in 548 due to either gangrene or cancer. While she was one of the most powerful female leaders of early world history and basically ruled as Justinian’s equal, you probably won’t hear of or learn much about her, even in college courses, because the history we learn was written in early patriarchal societies. History has traditionally been recorded by men; when given the choice between Justinian and Theodora, who do you think they’d most likely write about?

To learn more about the powerful rule of Empress Theodora, check out these Women’s History, Britannica, and (especially this) World Encyclopedia sites.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more Women in History Crush Wednesdays! And at this point I hope you enjoyed the rest of Women’s Equality Day!

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Theodora

Be heard!


We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming…

Today marked the beginning of my last year in high school, which I’m thrilled about! I can’t wait for all the good times and memories this year will bring. But that, of course, isn’t what school is entirely about.

I’m enrolled in several AP courses this year, including European History and United States Government right now and Macro-Economics in the spring, all of which will benefit the content of this blog. Hopefully amidst the melee of my senior year, I’ll be able to delve deeper into some of the more interesting and convoluted tidbits of history we’re covering in class (and some we may skip over) to write some quality posts.

In this way, we’ll be able to learn together. If at any point you have a suggestion or request for me to research and write about, please let me know! I’d love to discover with you.

Before I continue, I’d like to say thanks to you, my dear readers. I’m so appreciative that you take the time to read what I’m writing – it’s surreal. And thank you to those who have shared and continue to share my posts, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Good luck to all my fellow students out there! We’ll make it through this year like champs.

Be heard!

First Lady of Physics

It’s that time of the week again! About a week ago in 1942, the Manhattan Project, which was a research and development of nuclear weapons initiative during World War II, began. If I had better planned my Women in History Crush Wednesdays, this post would probably have happened closer to the 73rd anniversary than today…better a week late than never I guess. Therefore, this week’s WCW is the “First Lady of Physics,” Chien-Shiung Wu. I never learned about Wu in school, not even in my AP Physics class, but had the luck to come across her on Google, and was blown away by her life story.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Chien-Shiung Wu

Born in Lui Ho, China on May 31st, 1912, Chien-Shiung Wu attended her father’s school, the Mingde Women’s Vocational Continuing School, until age nine when she moved to the Suzhou Women’s Normal School. There, Wu learned English and followed a curriculum based on Western education systems, but had to study math and science independently. Wu graduated from Suzhou in 1930 as her class’ valedictorian, then taught at the Public School of China in Shanghai for several years. In 1934, Wu earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the National Central University in Nanjing, which she used for the following two years as she taught x-ray crystallography at the Zhejiang University and researched at the Institute of Physics of the Academia Sinica. Wu’s parents, both teachers, were adamant about their daughter being well educated; after she college graduation, they encouraged her to move to the United States to pursue a doctorate.

In 1936, Wu began graduate study at the University of California at Berkeley campus under Nobel Prize winner Ernest O. Lawrence. At Berkeley, Wu studied with Emilio Segre and Robert Oppenheimer, whom she’d again work with during the war. In 1940, Wu received her doctorate in physics, specializing in nuclear fission. Following graduation, Wu taught for a year at Smith College, and then, due to wartime shortages of male teachers, was offered teaching positions at top tier universities, including MIT, Columbia, and Princeton. Wu accepted a non-research teaching position at Princeton, where she taught naval officers nuclear physics.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Chien-Shiung Wu

Early in 1944, Columbia University recruited Wu to the War Research Department, where she began research and testing for the Manhattan Project. For the project, Wu developed improved Geiger radiation level counters, a method of enriching uranium in which gaseous diffusion is used to separate the element into large quantities of isotopes to be used as fuel, and helped progress the work of Enrico Fermi. After the Manhattan Project ended, she continued working at Columbia, first as a research assistant and then as an associate professor of beta decay.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Chien-Shiung Wu

Wu began working with Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang, renowned nuclear researchers, in 1956. Lee and Yang had theorized a flaw in the Parity Law, saying that based on weak force subatomic interactions, separating molecules would behave asymmetrically instead of the accepted, tandem behavior. Wu tested the two’s theory with the National Bureau of Standards, and proved their hypothesis by observing that K-meson particles didn’t act according to the principle of parity. Though Wu did all the experimental work, only Lee and Yang were awarded a Nobel Prize. She was, however, awarded the AAUW Achievement Award, Research Corporation Award, Cyrus B Comstock Award, National Medal of Science, and the Wolf Prize. For her work on both the Parity Law and the Unified Theory (with Richard Feynman and Murry Gell-Mann), Wu became well known and respected in the science community, gaining nicknames like the “First Lady of Physics,” “Chinese Marie Curie,” and “Madame Wu.”

Due to the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, Wu didn’t see her family after leaving China until the latter twentieth century. But in 1942, Wu married Chia-Liu “Luke” Yuan, whom she met while in graduate school at Berkeley. The couple had a son, Vincent Weichen, in 1947, and like his parents, Vincent grew up to be a nuclear scientist. In 1954 both Wu and Yuan became American citizens.

Over the course of her long career, Wu received many awards and became the “first woman to _____” in many fields. These included:

Wu continued to conduct nuclear research at Columbia until 1981. After retiring, she lectured internationally about the importance of women in scientific careers and heavily criticized gender barriers and discrimination. Wu died on February 18th, 1997 in New York, New York due to a stroke. She is remembered in physics classrooms globally via her book, Beta Decay, and serves as an inspiration to women pursuing STEM careers and educational opportunities.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Chien-Shiung Wu

To learn more about the incredibly accomplished life of Chien-Shiung Wu, check out the AAUW, National Women’s History Museum, and Berkeley Nuclear Research Center cites.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more Women in History Crush Wednesdays!

Be heard!

Houston’s Hero

As you may or may not know, I live in Houston, Texas. Our woman of focus today is a local hero, but we don’t hear or learn anywhere near enough about her, so I hope this’ll do her some degree of justice. As a tribute to her, and to all my fellow Houstonites, this week’s WCW is Barbara Jordan, who is best known as being the first African-American congresswoman from the South.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Barbara Jordan

Barbara Charline Jordan was born on February 21st, 1936 in Houston, Texas. Her parents encouraged her from an early age to achieve academic excellence; by the time she started college, Jordan had won numerous awards in debate and as an orator due to her superior rhetoric and argument skills. Jordan attended Phyllis Wheatley High School, a segregated school in Houston’s Fifth Ward. During a speech by Edith Sampson at the school’s Career Day, Jordan was inspired to become an attorney, the career that would one day open her to the world of politics. Jordan graduated magna cum laude in the first class of students at Texas Southern University, which was founded in an effort to put off having to integrate at the University of Texas campus. In 1959, Jordan was one of two black women to graduate from Boston University School of Law. After passing the Bar Exam in both Massachusetts and Texas, Jordan returned to Texas and in 1960 started her own law practice. Jordan entered the political arena by campaigning for both John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson’s presidential runs – she was successful in yielding an 80% voter turnout in Houston’s Harris County.

Jordan’s attempts to serve on the Texas legislature began in 1962, and by 1966 she was elected in, becoming the first black, female member. While in this position, Jordan helped pass Texas’ first minimum wage law, along with legislation detailing anti-discrimination in business and the Texas Fair Employment Practices Commission. On June 10th, 1972, her fellow lawmakers voted for Jordan to be the president pro tempore of the Texas Senate for the day, which meant that for twenty four hours she was the honorary governor of Texas. On that day, Jordan became the first black woman from the deep South to hold a national chief executive position. Several months later, Jordan was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where she was also a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

“I’m not going to Washington and turn things upside down in a day. I’ll only be one of 435. But the 434 will know I am there.”

In 1973, Jordan was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but that didn’t stop her at all. Wheelchair bound, Jordan served in the Congress and later gave many acclaimed speeches, continuing to fight for what she believed in despite any physical limitations.

During the Watergate Scandal hearings of 1974, Jordan called for the impeachment of former President Richard Nixon, declaring in her opening speech on national television that she “would not sit and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.” Nixon soon resigned, and Jordan’s speech gained her fame and recognition for her rhetoric and integrity.

In 1976, Jordan gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, becoming the first black woman to do so. She remained a U.S. congresswoman until 1979, promoting legislation that fought for women’s rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, and Social Security benefits. Jordan was often criticized by women’s and civil rights groups for not adamantly supporting their causes, as she put the needs of the community before their agenda.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Barbara Jordan

Jordan retired after three terms as a congresswoman, and became a professor of public affairs at the University of Texas while staying active politically as a speaker and counselor for the Democratic members of the Texas government. She penned an autobiography titled Barbara Jordan: A Self Portrait in 1979. In 1991, she again delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. Throughout her career, Jordan was bestowed over twenty-five honorary doctorates, and she was awarded the Medal of Freedom by former President Bill Clinton in 1994.

Towards the end of her life, Jordan had several major health problems, like diabetes and leukemia, that she was able to keep mostly private. On January 17th, 1996, Jordan died of pneumonia, a complication of her cancer. She was put to rest in the Texas State Cemetery, becoming the first African-American interred among the governors, senators, and congressmen there.

Jordan is honored today with several libraries, schools, post offices, and parks christened in her name. Additionally, the Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation has been working since 2011 to continue Jordan’s work in righting the injustices against children in America. In 1990, Jordan was added to the National Women’s Hall of Fame in New York.

If you want to delve deeper into the incredible career and accomplishments of Barbara Jordan, check out these History, Bio., and History, Art & Archives articles, or check out the Bullock Texas State History Museum in downtown Austin.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more Women in History Crush Wednesdays! Be heard!

Last Night’s Play-by-Play

This is a “bonus section” of the previous post, if you will. During the debate, I took quick notes about everything that was said, so the following is a more coherent rendition of what I wrote. My last post was summary-esque, so this is definitely more specific. I included times as reference points. Here we go:


Donald Trump won’t pledge to not run independently if he doesn’t win Primary because he will not respect whoever is the winner

Rand Paul accuses Trump of supporting Hillary Clinton in his refusal to pledge

Ben Carson does not address question about his knowledge on foreign affairs and instead says he is intelligent and will work hard along the way

Marco Rubio says election can’t be a resume’ competition because then Clinton would be the definite winner, but rather about current issues like domestic job security 

-Rubio says Clinton can’t say anything about him not supporting the middle and lower classes because he was raised poor


Jeb Bush says he doesn’t want to be considered part of the Bush dynasty but that he’s like his dad, followed by the statement that citizens in Florida “called [him] Jeb because [he] earned it”

-Mediator Megyn Kelly questions Trump about his derogatory statements on his twitter about women, to which he responds he only says that stuff about Rosie O’Donnell

-Kelly, not impressed, says that’s false, which sets Trump off on a rant about how he doesn’t have time to be politically correct and that wasting time on being politically correct is why America is “losing to China and Mexico”

-At the end of his rant, Trump threatens that in the future he won’t be so kind in his comments about Kelly

Ted Cruz stresses the importance of truth and his dislike of scandals


-Christie talks about his success in fixing the New Jersey budget without raising taxes by cutting state programs, “there’s a lot of work to do in New Jersey but I’m darn proud of how far we’ve come”

Scott Walker denies saying that rape shouldn’t be an exception when it comes his pro-life beliefs, but continues that he is pro-life no matter what

-Walker plans to defund Planed Parenthood (henceforth PP) because it’s “what the majority of Americans want”

Mike Huckabee says his approach to defund PP is “bolder than Constitutional amendments,” but says he’ll use the 5th and 14th Amendments as grounds to defund PP and to force the Supreme Court to outlaw abortion


-Paul says the only way to defeat ISIS is to stop funding and arming ISIS and it’s neighboring nations

John Kasich says he supports Medicaid because when Saint Peter asks him at the gates as heaven what he’s done for the poor he wants to be able to answer

-Kasich talks about the need for rehab programs needed to get drug addicts healed and out of jails

-Bush stands by his previous statement that illegal immigration is an act driven by love of family, but adds that the US should be more strategic about patrolling and eliminate sanctuary cities along the border


-Trump speaks directly to Bush about his racist remarks, saying that “if it weren’t for [him] candidates wouldn’t be talking about illegal immigration” and that the situation along the border is simply “money going out, drugs coming in” 

-Trump is given more time for not answering original question, during which he states that “our leaders, our politicians, are stupid” multiple times


-Kasich says that “Trump is hitting a nerve in this country,” continuing that Trump’s way to combat border control is an option but not the only way

-Rubio agrees that the US should build a fence but says that Mexico isn’t the problem, but rather the farther south Latin American countries

-Rubio adds that illegal immigration isn’t fair to those who wait for legal entry to America

-Walker says US needs to secure the border without amnesty in order to protect domestic wages and jobs

-Cruz discusses Kate Steile Law, saying that he helped pass the legislation

-continuing, Cruz says current border control isn’t enforced enough by the “Washington Cartel and Obama,” agrees that no amnesty should be offered

-Christie says that he is pro-PATRIOT ACT because protecting Americans is of extreme importance since 9/11

-Paul interrupts Christie saying that he believes in the 4th Amendment and that the US should only collect records about terrorists

-Christie questions Paul “How do you know who is and isn’t a terrorist?”

-Paul shoots back that Christie doesn’t understand the Bill of Rights and care more about “hugging Obama”

-Christie retorts that at least he “hugs in favor of victims and not for politics like you”


-Cruz claims that radical Islamic terrorism is the focus of the world’s terror, and that the US needs a Commander in Chief who “says ‘if you join ISIS you’re signing your death certificate,'” and will void passports of those who join ISIS

-Cruz concludes statement saying that Obama is an ISIS apologist

-Bush confirms that Iraq War was a mistake but that his heart and prayers go out to the veterans of the war and those who died

-Bush claims that Obama abandoned Iraq and that’s why ISIS exists, continuing that he’ll stop the Iran Agreement and take out ISIS no matter the cost


-Walker discusses idea that “America is leading from behind”

-Carson makes joke about thinking that he wasn’t going to get to talk again

-Carson doesn’t reject the idea of bringing waterboarding back into terrorist interrogations, saying that “there is no such thing as a politically correct war” and that the US should “do what ever it knows to get done what it needs”

-Trump holds off on answering his question to say that he was the first to say in 2004 that the Iraq War would destabilize the Middle East

-Trump defends single payer health care and says US needs to take care of those who can’t afford health care but in non-Obamacare system

-Trump insults Paul and then talks about candidate funding, saying that he calls in favors all the time which proves that the funding system needs reform

-Walker straight up says that “Clinton screws up everything she touches” politically


-Huckabee claims America’s biggest problems are the Wall Street-government bond and that the federal government is powerful past the point of its’ Constitutional jurisdiction

-Huckabee wants to switch tax on income to consumer tax

-Carson wants to have a proportional tax system with no loop holes

-Bush remains pro-Common Core but clarifies that the state should set the curriculum and that the federal government shouldn’t interfere

-Rubio agrees that there needs to be education reform but says the Common Core is shoved down people’s throats

-Bush agrees to disagree, saying that the states still need high standards without Common Core


-Kasich talks about his roots in poverty to show how he is pro-growth and wants to restore the American Dream

-Carson, though he doubts Clinton will be the Democratic candidate, says she will get votes because she takes advantage of the uninformed, also that she will destroy the nation with debt

-Bush says the way to life American morale is to eliminate Obamacare and to embrace the Energy Revolution

-Walker wants to increase education and get rid of Obamacare in order to fix unemployment

-Christie says he wants to increase the retirement age and have a social security reform because social security is being misused by the wealthy

-Christie says “Huckabee isn’t lying, he’s just wrong”

-Huckabee says social security is a government tax scheme but that a reform including a consumer tax and the ending of Obamacare would fix the system, also suggests ending Congress’ retirement program

-Christie says they already have “trust funds filled with IOUs” and to “just fix the system”

-Huckabee says “illegal immigrants, pimps, and prostitutes are freeloading on the income tax system” which is why we should switch to a consumer tax


-Trump talks about how he’s “taken advantage of the law” to save his company several times and is proud of that in order to preface needing big business legislation reform

-Mediator looks to the camera to give hilarious side eye while Trump is talking

-Trump continues that he’s proud of the money he made in Atlantic City before he had to move away because his company was going bankrupt

-Rubio calls for evening out of small business taxes, regulatory tax reform, repeal of Obamacare, and the elimination of the Dodd-Frank Act


-Walker wants to terminate Iran Deal and have Congress pass sanctions, says he is anti-Obama-Clinton Doctrine

-Paul says he a “Reagan conservative” and stresses compliance with that ideology

-Huckabee quotes Reagan and insults Obama, then says the Obama/Clinton Doctrine holds no benefit to the US and puts the world in danger, says the US needs to take Iran seriously


-Bush joined Bloomberg(?) for education reform but still defunded PP in Florida, “my record as a pro-life governor is not in dispute”

-Rubio says the Constitution basically already protects life and is pro-life, no rape or incest exception, “as a society we’ll look back and realize pro-choice is barbaric”

-Trump was pro-choice in past but after having a friend survive a failed abortion and prosper he’s pro-life, became Republican after leaving New York City, says “the Democrats gave us Obama and you can’t be happy about that”

-Bush says the Republicans will win if they correctly use conservatism, doesn’t like Trump’s tone

-Trump says “it’s Medieval times, tone doesn’t matter” and that he’ll get done what needs to get done

-Kasich accepts court ruling on gay marriage and says though he doesn’t personally agree with homosexuality he will love gay people because he wants to “give everyone a chance and respect everyone” 

-Kasich continues “God gives unconditional love and I should too”


-Paul says “marriage and guns shouldn’t be registered in Washington,” that the government shouldn’t interfere in religion

-Walker address the #BlackLivesMatter movement by saying the US needs police training reform especially in the area of using force

-Trump says Obama is incompetent and that what happened in Iran is a disgrace

-Cruz says ISIS, Iran, China, and Russia are enemies to the US and that the new president needs to stand up to them


-Carson wants to build military to protect from the consequences of Obama’s mistakes

-Walker says China and Russia know more of Clinton’s emails than Congress, that the US should be supplying Ukraine, Poland, and the Czech Republic with weapons

-Huckabee says military health care programs should not cover gender reassignment surgeries because “the military is not a social experiment”

-Paul says to quit funding countries where people burn the American flag, no aid to enemies, “stop spending money we don’t have”

-Christie wants to strengthen the military, says Israel is a priority at this point and should continue being funded


-Cruz thanks God and tells story about how his father was an alcoholic-turned-pastor

-Kasich says he wants to unite the country and tells people to listen to and respect others, “God wants America to be strong and to lead”

-Walker talks about how he was redeemed by Jesus and lives his life as a testimony to heaven


-Rubio says “God has blessed the Republican Party,” the US needs a VA that cares more about veterans than bureaucrats 

-Carson says “skin doesn’t make you who you are” and that US needs to move past racism

-Kasich talks about how he brought hope back to Ohio

-Christie says America needs to stop worrying about reputation of love and instead demand respect

-Paul says he’s “a different kind of Republican”

-Rubio says that because his parents were poor Cubans who got to experience the American Dream he wants to “save and expand the American Dream” to create a “new American century”

-Cruz wants to repeal all of Obama’s legislation on immigration, investigate and destroy PP, and move the US’ embassy in the Middle East

-Carson jokes about DC, talks about surgical accomplishments and the need to “fight for freedom”

-Huckabee insults Clinton, says “the nation is in trouble but not beyond repair,” stresses “one nation under God”

-Walker says he’s “aggressively normal” and that “it wasn’t too late for Wisconsin, it isn’t too late for America”

-Bush says he wants to fix the immigration system and embrace the Energy Revolution

-Trump says the US can’t beat anyone in trade, wants to end Obamacare and “make the country great again”

Last Night's Play-by-Play

I know this is a really long post…if you made it this far, thank you! Don’t forget to watch the upcoming debates for both parties!

Be heard!

First GOP Debate Thoughts

The first GOP Debate of the season is over, and all I can say is WOW. While there were moments of rational conversation, the majority of the broadcast came across as a glorified pissing contest – lots of “I’m the only one up here who ________” and low jabs at each other. Leading topics included illegal immigration, Obamacare, foreign affairs (specifically dealing with Iran), abortion and the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and economic reform.

In my opinion, Chris Christie and Ben Carson, though they didn’t speak as much as some of the other candidates, did the best by remaining focused on reforming American policies for a better future without blaming or insulting others.

Donald Trump, per usual in his recent interviews, often put his foot in his mouth, at one point arguing for reform in legislation on domestic business and taxes by saying that he successfully took advantage of American laws four times in the past. The mediators at multiple times looked exasperated or offended by Trump’s responses to their questions, but given what he said I think they’re completely justified.

There was a tense moment when Christie and Rand Paul got into a heated argument about the privacy of American citizens; Christie expressed that he’s pro-PATRIOT ACT because of his experiences with the 9/11 terrorist attack while Paul said that the 4th Amendment protects Americans and that only terrorists should be tracked and recorded, to which Christie retorted “How do you know who is or isn’t a terrorist?” The argument didn’t conclude so much as get cut off in order to continue questioning the other candidates.

The debate was ended with statements meant to wrap up each candidate’s campaign message as well as relate God to each’s platform, which I think is somewhat uncalled for in the name of separation of state and church, but that’s a conversation for another time… In the end, all the candidates wished to change our current governing system to create a stronger America to lead the world of tomorrow.

Those are my basic thoughts about and the highlights of the debate, which, if you missed it, can be watched here. The next GOP debate is scheduled for September 16th, and the first debate for the Democratic Party is set for October 13th. Again, I encourage all of you to tune in to both.

Be heard!

Anything You Can Do, She Can Do Better

It’s Women in History Crush Wednesday, and I’m posting well before midnight for a change!

Up until I was five or six years old, we had two cats. I don’t think I realized at that point of my youth that you actually have the power to name your pets, because any pets that I had were named before I was born, so I simply assumed that it was a crazy random happenstance that our cats were named Annie and Oakley. Little did I know that my parents had named their cats after such an amazing and accomplished woman. I came across some pictures of the cats earlier this week, and thus chose this week’s WCW, legendary markswoman Annie Oakley.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Annie Oakley

Born Phoebe Ann Moses on August 13th, 1860 in Darke County, Ohio, Oakley had a rough childhood. Her father died of pneumonia when she six, leaving her and her family of seven. Her mother remarried, but soon after that, her second husband also died, leaving a family of now eight. When she turned eight, Oakley moved to the county’s poor house, the Darke County Infirmary, where she was educated and became passionate about the welfare of children. At ten, Oakley began working for a wealthy family nearby in order to help pay for her family’s needs; this family turned out to be abusive, and after two years, Oakley escaped back to the Infirmary. At the start of her teenage years, Oakley moved back to her family home, where she used her father’s old rifle to hunt game that she sold to hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores in neighboring Ohio towns. Oakley found great success in hunting, as she was able to pay off her family’s mortgages at fifteen years old.

Gaining renown for her talents, Oakley was invited to a shooting competition against famous marksman Frank Butler in late 1875. Making twenty four out of twenty five shots on target, Oakley beat Butler, who was amazed by her abilities. A year later, the two wed and continued on Butler’s midwest tour. Butler’s usual performance partner fell ill in 1882 and Oakley filled in, taking her stage name “Annie Oakley.” The couple toured together for three more years, meeting Lakota leader Sitting Bull, who nicknamed Oakley “Little Sure Shot,” and William Frederick Cody along the way. Cody, also known as Buffalo Bill, had Oakley and Butler join Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Annie Oakley

Headlining the show for nearly seventeen years and then joining other small shows, Oakley performed all across America and Europe, earning praise and prizes along the way. Oakley’s elegance in maintaining ladylike demeanor and talent in shooting made her a hit among women and children, who took away the lesson that they could compete and excel in a “man’s arena” while maintaining proper etiquette. Additionally, Oakley’s self-confidence proved to women that they could stand up for themselves.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Annie Oakley

In 1913, Oakley and Butler retired from show business and moved to Cambridge, Maryland with their dog Dave, who had previously helped the couple with tricks while on tour. Oakley spent much of her time in Maryland continuing to hunt, teaching other women to hunt, and performing in charity events.

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, and before during the Spanish-American War, Oakley offered her services to the army. However, the army refused her offers to teach marksmanship to troops and to form and train all-female regiments, so Oakley volunteered in groups like Red Cross, the National War Council of the Young Men’s Christian Association, and the War Camp Community Service.

Women in History Crush Wednesday - Annie Oakley

Oakley planned to make a comeback into show business in 1922, but a car accident left her injured and unable to perform. She was in poor health for several years following, so she and Butler moved back to Ohio so that Oakley could be near her family. Oakley quickly wrote out her adventures to be included in newspapers once home. On November 3rd, 1926, Oakley died of natural causes, and barely three weeks later, Butler, too, died. The couple filled their fifty years of marriage with adventures, travel, and performances, leaving a legend of their skills that remains impressive today.

Today, we remember Annie Oakley in movies, books, stage productions (like Annie Get Your Gun, which inspired today’s title), television shows, textbooks, and museums as the first female star of what had traditionally been a male-dominated skill and profession. To learn more about her, check out these Buffalo Bill Center of the West and PBS articles!

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more Women in History Crush Wednesdays! Be heard!

Did He Really Say That?

A little bit ago, I received this email from the Bernie Sanders campaign:Did he really say that?

Now, I’m not in the habit of believing information without validating it, especially when it’s about a presidential candidate potentially cutting funding for federal women’s health programs, so I did some research.

And wouldn’t you believe it, it’s true.

Earlier today, in an interview for a South Baptist Convention in Tennessee, Jeb Bush stated that “[he’s] not sure we need half a billion dollars in funding for women’s health programs…there are many…federally sponsored community health organizations to provide quality care for women on a wide variety of health issues…but abortion should not be funded by the government.”

If he’s saying that abortion funding should be cut and restricted even more than it already is, that’s fine. That’s information about his platform that voters might find important to know. But suggesting that the overall funding for general women’s health care be cut is a considerably uninformed suggestion…

For the 2016 Fiscal Year, the Obama administration has set aside roughly $20.9 billion for women’s health programs. This budget includes coverage, based on financial need, for well-woman visits, Medicaid and/or Medicare for mother and child, counseling, FDA-approved birth controls, testing for diseases like HIV, family planning programs like Title X, pregnancy health grant programs like Title V, sex education courses, teen pregnancy prevention, health care services for female veterans, and early cancer detection programs. These programs are in place to protect and aid the low-income women of America, who otherwise would have problems obtaining access to the same level of care.

Bush’s explanation for his statement is that he doesn’t want the government funding Planned Parenthood or abortion. But according to both FactCheck and the Planned Parenthood, only 3% of the organization’s services are abortion related, and 10% of their clients receive an abortion. Additionally, while Planned Parenthood is partially funded by the government, that money cannot legally be used for abortion services.

By cutting women’s health funding, Bush would in no way, shape, or form affect the current abortion practices, availability, or statistics. He would, however, limit the basic health care services available to low-income women across America. 

Is that what he wished to convey?

Personally, I think we need a president who cares about accessibility of health care services needed by women, regardless of their ability to pay.

The first presidential candidate debate for the Republican Party will be held on Thursday, August 6th at 9:00PM EST on Fox News. I urge you to tune in and stay informed!!

Be heard!